Types of Minimally Invasive Spine Surgery
The spine is made up of a column of 33 individual bones, called vertebrae, which are stacked atop one another from the base of the skull to the pelvis, and provide the entire body with structure and support. Each vertebra is composed of the vertebral body at the front and two facet joints, one on each side, at the rear. The spinous process sits between the facet joints; this is the bony portion directly opposite of the body of the vertebra. The facet joints are connected to the spinous process by two laminae, one on each side. These are bony segments that form the rear of the vertebral arch and serve as a base for the vertebra.
This procedure is done through minimally invasive techniques which means the incision is very small and the muscles, arteries and nerves around the spine are left intact. During the procedure, the entire lamina is removed, releasing pressure on the nerve by enlarging the spinal canal. Any disc material or bone spur on or near the nerve is also removed. The foramen can also be enlarged to ease pain caused by stenosis. After the procedure, thick back muscles protect the new opening in the spine.
Hemilaminectomy treats severe stenosis or herniation due to spinal degeneration after non-operative treatments such as physical therapy, exercise programs, chiropractic and acupuncture treatments, injections and pain medications have failed.
Recovery time varies from patient to patient. Since this procedure is minimally invasive, patients usually go home the same day (outpatient) and start physical therapy 3-4 weeks after surgery. Many patients return to work within 6-8 weeks after this surgery.